RICHIE KOTZEN On THE WINERY DOGS: 'We All Agreed That We Would Like To Do A Third Record'

February 20, 2020

In a brand new interview with "The Classic Metal Show", guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen was asked about the status of THE WINERY DOGS, his power trio with drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD) and legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH). He said (hear audio below): "The first record [2013's self-titled effort] was just something that people responded to at a level that I don't think any of us were expecting. We really did get a lot of heat off of that. And then, to be completely honest about everything, at that point, at the end of that, after that record, I wanted to go back and do whatever it was that I was doing before. Personally, at no point in my life have I ever sat around and thought, 'I wanna be in a full-time band.' I never had that fantasy. I think a lot of musicians did. When I was young, I wanted to be Prince or David Bowie or Stevie Wonder. I just have a different DNA. I appreciate the stuff I did with band, be it POISON or MR. BIG or Stanley Clarke. And, of course, THE WINERY DOGS was at the top, because I had so much of my heart in that project. But after that first record, I personally felt that it was very grueling — the touring. We went all over the place, and [it was] go, go, go, go, go, go.'

He continued: "I am not a road dog. I can go on the road — I can do a month here, a month there, and that's how I do it when I'm solo. I'll do a month in Europe and I'll come home for three months. And then I'll go to South America for three weeks, and then I'll come home. I really was happy with the record and I love the guys, but I didn't feel like I needed to stay on the road for the rest of my life. They really wanted to go in and do another record, and I remember the management was really adamant about, 'You've gotta go. You've gotta go.' And they have their own agenda as well, and none of it has to do with the artist's mental health or physical health. So, I did agree to do another record, and we did [2015's] 'Hot Streak', and it was cool, but then when that finished, I absolutely said, 'I'm done for a while. I can't keep going like this, because it's just a different animal.' And those guys go — if they're not out with one band, they're out with another band. They love to tour. I love to write. I like touring, and I like playing live, but I love writing, and I love creating. But the reality is that we did go out in May [2019] and we did a tour that was a lot of fun — we got along, and everything was great. And so we all agreed that we would like to do a third record and we'd like to do a third album cycle, which would involve plenty of touring and all that sort of thing. So I think the timing is getting to a point where it makes sense."

Last month, Portnoy told Sonic Perspectives that THE WINERY DOGS' 2019 tour was done "just for the fun of it — just for no other reason than to play together again, because it had been a few years. I think it reignited our love for each other, and I think it showed us that there's still so many fans out there that love this band," he explained. "It reignited our desire to make another record, so I think as soon as we can, we will."

Kotzen's 22nd solo album, "50 For 50" is now available via his own custom label, Headroom-Inc. The three-disc collection is just what the title implies: a collection of 50 previously unreleased compositions produced, performed and written by Kotzen in honor of his birthday. It's the follow-up to his critically acclaimed "Salting Earth" album, which was released April 14, 2017 via Headroom-Inc.

Portnoy and Sheehan will spend much of the first half of 2020 on the road with SONS OF APOLLO, whose world tour in support of "MMXX" kicked off January 23 in Sacramento, California.

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